Leontia Flynn: The Bloomsbury Hotel, 1939 – 1945

Self cannot believe that the hotel gives away these precious little poetry collections, collections of all the poems written about The Bloomsbury Hotel.

Here’s an excerpt from a Leontia Flynn poem about the hotel during wartime:

Shutter the windows. Tumble down the wall.
Sleep under a curtain in the swimming pool
and shelter in the old gymnasium.
After the talks, the shying and denial,
War has come again. War: the word’s a bomb

on everyone’s lips.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Transient: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 21 June 2017

  • “For this week’s challenge, show us your perception of transient . . .  a depiction of the state of impermanence.”

—  Andrea Badgley, The Daily Post

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Tray Table Art by Self’s Seatmate on the Flight to San Francisco, a Girl Named Caroline Rose

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Pedestrians on Waterloo Bridge, London, June 2017

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Paper Birds, Church of St-Martin-in-the-Fields, London

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry About the Bloomsbury Hotel, London

They give poetry books to each guest, which is how self happened upon this poem by Jo Shapcott:

New commission

It’s a hot night. We walk our wheelies from the tube.
The brick walls seep warmth. On the way we smell shop-
flowers through the traffic, hear church bells, loiter
in the odd sweet spot until we’re here, looking up
at a paradox of double steps. Still curbside, we sense
that if there’s a muse of stairways, she lives here,
inside these buildings made of red brick and rain.
Through the doors and we’re inhabiting a chandelier
or library or a chapel or a cave, and our minds flash and glow
with noises, words and tastes until our hearts have softened
inside our bodies and when we leave, the street is silk under
the lamps.

Emma Rice: Shakespeare and Love

This year, self was fortunate enough to catch two plays at Shakespeare’s Globe: Twelfth Night and Tristan and Yseult.

Both plays were terrific. But only one was truly unforgettable, because self watched it her last night in London, that fabulous city.

Here’s an excerpt from the Tristan and Yseult programme, written by Director Emma Rice:

Love, I celebrate it, practise it, mourn it, and fight for it.

But my appreciation and experience of this most seductive of topics is dwarfed by Shakespeare’s understanding of love. My mind spins when I imagine how his life must have been: how hard he worked, how far he travelled, how dark and scary the landscape he lived in was. If I close my eyes and propel my imagination back in time, I hear the tectonic plates of the planet creak, I see the ground opening up and Shakespeare clambering out of a deep crack in the earth’s surface, dusty, desperate and gasping for air . . . then, with the clarity of clear water, he sings from the earth he was born. Shakespeare gave voice to desire and to grief, to parenthood and to marriage. He charted the waters of courtship and the loneliness of a failing marriage. He mourned for us, married for us and betrayed for us. He gazed fearlessly into the human existence like no other, before or since.

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Shakespeare’s Globe, Just Before the Start of “Tristan and Yseult,” June 2017

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Focus 2: London, Giverney and Versailles

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is FOCUS.

David W. asks:

Are you a stickler for getting in close to your subjects and capturing every detail, or do you prefer a more ethereal look that illustrates the sensations of the moment? Or both?

Self definitely falls into the latter group.

Much has happened in the world in the four months self traveled through England, Ireland, and France. She took this picture standing on the steps of London’s St. Martin-in-the-Fields, where she’d gone to listen to a candlelight Pachelbel Canon concert:

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Iconic Double-Decker: London, Early June 2017

Before London, self was in Paris. She spent one day at Monet’s Garden in Giverney, which was awash in blooms:

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Blooming in Monet’s Garden in Giverney, Early June 2017

Finally, Versailles. The lines were incredible. It took all of her niece Irene’s ingenuity to get us both inside. Self took this picture staring through the gilt iron gates at the front entrance, on a very hot afternoon in late May:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Matthew Hopkins, Witch-Hunter

In the 1640s, a self-designated witch-finder named Matthew Hopkins “toured the counties of Norfolk, Essex, Hants, and Sussex, in quest of witches.”

In one year he brought no fewer than sixty to the stake.

Method of detection: “swimming”

  • The right thumb of the suspected person was tied to the toe of the left foot, and vice versa. She was then wrapped in a blanket and placed on her back in a pond. If she floated — which we are told was generally the case when placed carefully upon the water — she was guilty, and was burned forthwith; if she sank, she was innocent.

— Sax Rohmer, The Romance of Sorcery

Only the preposition “she” is used, throughout this section. Self can only assume this means: No male witches, ever.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Focus: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 14 June 2017

The bokeh that resulted give the lights of the city a magical quality and creates a unique look for a heavily photographed location.

— David W., The Daily Post

Self had to look up the definition of “bokeh”, here.

Last night, self saw “Tristan and Yseult” at Shakespeare’s Globe. Such a beautiful, high-energy production, Emma Rice’s last as Director at the Globe.

Audience Leaving the Globe After “Tristan and Yseult”: Tuesday, 13 June 2017

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Leaving Shakespeare’s Globe after a performance of “Tristan and Yseult,” Tuesday 13 June 2017

Going home, over London Bridge, she snapped this shot of Big Ben:

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London Bridge Last Night, Around 10 p.m.

And this one of the London Eye:

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

BATH: Magnificent Order

And self does mean magnificent.

The Royal Crescent in Bath takes her breath away. Even after seeing it for the third or fourth time.

The shape is an ellipsis cut in half. Who thought of this curved shape? So perfect. It’s almost mystical.

The architect (whose name self immediately forgot) was inspired, according to the guide on the walking tour, by the Roman Coliseum (which is itself elliptical. Really? Self never knew!)

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Royal Crescent

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Royal Crescent No. 1 (Royal Crescent Museum): Self is so happy that this woman came out of the entrance just as self was getting ready to take this shot.

Self had been on the Grand Parade, many times. But she never looked over the bridge to the river below. She finally did, yesterday, and — GAH! Rapids! Who would have thought?

Only after looking at the river for several moments did she realize that the gulls were walking on the edge of the top rapids. Grand illusion! And there are kayaks over there!

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The River Avon from the Grand Parade

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Turnout: England, 8 June 2017

The “youthquake” was a key component of Corbyn’s 10-point advance in Labour’s share of the vote — exceeding even Tony Blair’s nine-pont gain in his first 1997 landslide. No official data exists for the scale of this but an NME-led exit poll suggests turnout among under-35s rose by 12 points to 56% compared with 2015. The survey said nearly two-thirds of younger voters backed Labour, with Brexit their main concern.

— Alan Travis, The Guardian, Saturday, 10 June 2017

Quote of the Day: “Measure for Measure”

O, it is excellent
To have a giant’s strength, but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.

— Isabella, Act II, scene ii, Measure for Measure

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